News / Asia

Analysts See Promising Trends in Afghan Election

Afghan men line up for registration process before they cast their votes at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 5, 2014
Afghan men line up for registration process before they cast their votes at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 5, 2014
While uncertainty remains over the outcome of the Afghan election, analysts say the vote is showing some promising trends toward democracy. 

Partial results released from the April 5 election point to the likelihood of a runoff contest between candidates Abdullah Abdullah, who received 41.9 percent of the vote, and Ashraf Ghani with 37.6 percent.

Both men are former high ranking members of President Hamid Karzai’s government.  A runoff vote would be held after May 28.

Despite threats from the Taliban, which had escalated its campaign of violence to disrupt the election in the weeks prior to the vote, Afghans in the millions stood for hours to cast their ballots.

An image of an Afghan voter who had his index finger cut by the Taliban in the 2009 election went viral when he cast his vote and took a picture of his hand with ink on his finger.
 
Charles Niemeyer, a professor of war and peace at Georgetown University said the vote clearly demonstrates that Afghans support democracy.  
 
“I would think that this is a tremendous event for the future of the nation of Afghanistan. It does demonstrate the willingness of the people to run the risk and participate in elections,” he said.  

Young Afghans vote

A big portion of the voters were young Afghans. Afghanistan has an astonishing number of young people.

According to U.N. estimates, 68 percent of the population in Afghanistan is under 25, which makes Afghanistan one of the youngest countries in the world in terms of population.
 
Young Afghans like 19-year-old student Fatima Khalil Ahmad, who cast her vote for the first time, said her top priority is the status of women in her society. 

“I want my president to give priority to women rights and security,” she said. 
 
Sayed Maisam Ehsani  who describes himself as an activist for Afghan youth said his country has made great progress over the past 12 years, but he says the government has failed when it comes to giving young Afghans a voice in the country’s future.

“The next president should be a voice for a disappointed majority and provide them with educational and employment opportunities,” Ehsani said. 
 
A vote for the future
 
For the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) election day was a much-needed success, analysts say.

While sporadic attacks took place across the country polling stations escaped the violence and security forces provided a relatively safe environment for the people to cast their votes.

Security was tight at most polling stations.  
 
Jason Campbell, an analyst at the Rand Corporation, said above all the election showed a majority of the Afghan people support a future free of the Taliban. 
 
“This was definitely in many ways a referendum showing that the majority of the Afghan people are not going to be intimidated with regards to their future and that there is still a lot of hope in the future for Afghanistan,” Campbell said.

He added that “if you were to sit down and write your best case scenario going into the election, what transpired on the election day was very close to that.”
 
But Thomas H. Johnson, who directs the cultural and conflict studies program at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey said it would be wrong to say the Taliban does not have deep ties to local communities in parts of Afghanistan.

“I think that we underestimate the actual amount of public support they have in some parts of the country especially down in the south,” Johnson said.

But on the question of the election he said Afghans clearly voted by the millions for a better future despite the problems they live with every day.

“The level of corruption seems to be much lower than 2009.  I think this election was different and the Afghan people are starting to understand what representative government is all about,” he said.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: LA from: Los angeles
April 20, 2014 12:19 AM
I am overjoyed to see a united effort from the Afghan people to make a positive change!!!! A segmented nation will never achieve success; only a united nation will succeed!!! Afghans learned their listen thus the goal should be to move forward not backwards!!! I wish them happiness and prosperity!!


by: Javed from: UK
April 19, 2014 9:55 PM
It's the normal person who change the country and clearly in Afghanistan the ordinary man is not educated enough to choose the right person which was proved in the preliminary result where Abdullah Abdullah a former jihadi with his traditional mentality has 41.1 of the votes.
Ashraf Ghani who clearly is the right person seems to to rank 2nd. Taliban are not going to negotiate with someone who killed thousands of them and Abdullah was physically involved.
I don't see positive outcome upon him winning the elections, we simply don't need these failed olden day leaders we need someone who can really bring a change who is Ashraf Ghani. Let's hope for the best.


by: meanbill from: USA
April 19, 2014 10:30 AM
The Taliban only came into power because there was so much injustice without leadership in Afghanistan at that time, (and once the NATO troops leave), there will be no need for the Taliban to exist, unless the warlords and bandits come back into power again... (The Mujahideen/Taliban only exists now, to fight those who they consider foreign invaders, and their providers)..
Karzai was right when he said; after 12 years of war, peace with the Taliban is possible, and both sides can learn to live together in peace if given the chance, if the US would only stop targeting and killing them... GIVE PEACE A CHANCE !!!

In Response

by: hb from: Afghanistan
April 20, 2014 6:11 AM
@meanbill. You seem to have a wrong impression of the Taliban.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid